Week in Review
All you hear from Democrats is that we need to spend more on education. They call it investing in our future. Which is a lie. For ‘investing in our future’ is code for shoring up teachers’ pensions. And keeping higher education doing what those in control of higher education want it to do. Produce Democrat voters. Which actually starts in our public schools. Where they teach our kids to come home and tell their parents that they are ashamed of them. For all the global warming they’ve caused. And bringing them into the world in the evil, rotten United States.
These are the things our kids seem to know about. Global warming. Slavery. Stealing land from the Native Americans. American imperialism. But ask them to name the first four presidents of the United States? Four of the greatest Americans ever to live? Those in control of our public education don’t think knowing anything about them is important. Apparently (see Rolling Stone, Groupon Show The Viral Benefits of Historical Inaccuracy by Nathan Raab posted 4/11/2014 on Forbes).
In 2007, a US Mint poll showed that only 7 percent of those surveyed could name the first four Presidents in order. A later poll by Marist was not more encouraging.
George Washington (#1) kept the Continental Army together for 8 years under circumstances few could imagine today. Near the end of the Revolutionary War his character alone put down a mutiny in the officer corps. He turned down the offer to make him king. An unprecedented act at the time. King George of Britain had said if he turned down absolute power “he will be the greatest man in the world.” And Washington did. Twice. His presence was the only thing that got the states to ratify the Constitution. And his two terms in office was the only thing that gave the United States of America a chance of succeeding. This is why there is only one man we call the Father of his Country. And only one man we call the Indispensible Man. George Washington.
John Adams (#2) was a driving force for American independence. So much so that King George could not forgive him. Had they reconciled with the mother country the king would have pardoned many patriots. But not Adams. He would hang. Adams nominated George Washington to command the Continental Army. He chose Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. He worked with Benjamin Franklin to negotiate the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War. And negotiated America’s first loan from Amsterdam bankers. The first nation to recognize and do business with the new nation (other than France). And he averted war with France following the French Revolution. Giving the fledgling nation a chance to survive.
Thomas Jefferson (#3) was the author of Declaration of Independence. The author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. And the Father of the University of Virginia. The three things Jefferson was most proud of and appear on his tombstone. As president his administration bought the Louisiana Territory from the French. More than doubling the size of the United States. And sent out Lewis and Clark to explore these vast new territories. And he slashed government spending wherever he could. A true believer in limited government.
James Madison (#4) is the Father of the Constitution. He wrote the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to encourage ratification of the Constitution. The Federalist Papers are still referenced today in Constitutional law. He also helped the effort to ratify the Constitution in Virginia where he battled the great patriot Patrick Henry. Who feared a large central government. Madison served in the first Congress. Where he championed the Bill of Rights. And, later, supervised the Louisiana Purchase as President Jefferson’s Secretary of State.
It is indeed a sad commentary on our educational system that only 7% of those questioned could identify these great Americans. And it’s not a lack of money causing this. It’s a lacking in the curriculum. Choosing global warming, slavery, stealing land from the Native Americans, American imperialism, etc. Instead of teaching our kids why the United States is the greatest country in the world. Because of men like these. Who put the individual before the state. Who made freedom and liberty things we take for granted. Instead of things people can only dream of. Which is the case in much of the world today. And has been the norm throughout history.
Tags: Adams, Bill of Rights, Constitution, Continental Army, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, first four presidents, George Washington, Global Warming, imperialism, independence, James Madison, Jefferson, John Adams, king, King George, Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana Territory, Madison, presidents, Revolutionary War, slavery, stealing land, Thomas Jefferson, United States, Washington
Week in Review
I remember learning long ago that there were two Italys. A prosperous north. And an impoverished welfare state in the south. Apparently that was and still is true (see Venice votes to split from Italy as 89% of the city’s residents opt to form a new independent state by Hannah Roberts posted 3/21/2014 the Mail Online).
Venetians have voted overwhelmingly for their own sovereign state in a ‘referendum’ on independence from Italy…
The floating city has only been part of Italy for 150 years. The 1000 year–old democratic Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, was quashed by Napoleon and was subsumed into Italy in 1866.
Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have rallied in their thousands, after growing tired of supporting Italy’s poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south, through high taxation…
Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around 71 billion euros each year in tax from Venice – some 21 billion euros less than it gets back in investment and services.
The five-day poll came in the same week that Crimean residents chose in a landslide vote to leave Ukraine and become part of Russia.
Crimea is no Venice. Venice was one of the great Italian city-states that rose after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. They were an economic powerhouse. Trade made Venice the richest city in Europe. Their navies dominated the Mediterranean. And they helped usher in the Renaissance. Venice was an independent republic for 850 years longer than they were part of Italy. So Venice has some esteemed history. And they know a thing or two about economic activity. Such as income redistribution does not work.
If you keep taxing the economic producers more and more eventually they’re going to do something about it. Such as moving their economy underground. Out of reach of the greedy hands of the taxman. Or they may just vote to secede. That vote may not be constitutional. But apparently that doesn’t matter these days. At least it didn’t matter in Crimea. But one thing for sure. Based on the flow of money between Venice and Rome it is fair to say that Rome needs Venice more than Venice needs Rome.
Tags: high taxation, independence, Italy, Republic, secede, Venice
Gasoline let’s a Woman work a Job she Likes that Pays Well instead of Settling for a Nearby Job she Hates
In the old days men worked and women stayed home and raised the kids. And on the weekend the man got the lawnmower out and cut the lawn. At first he muscled a push-mower across the lawn. Then he got a gasoline-powered mower. Even our senior citizens can keep cutting their lawn in their advanced years. By getting a self-propelled gasoline-powered mower. We may not think a lot about it but cutting our lawn is a big part of home ownership. And today’s lawnmowers allow anyone do this task themselves. Including the fairer sex.
A widow living on her own in the home she shared with her late husband can cut her lawn with a self-propelled gasoline-lawnmower. Allowing her to stay in her home without paying someone else to cut her lawn. Who may try to take advantage of a senior citizen. It will also allow a younger woman to own a home without having to pay some stranger to get familiar with her and her home as they cut her lawn. While having a power mower may keep some overly interested neighbors from coming over to help ‘the little lady’ as she struggles behind a push-mower. And a loud gasoline-powered lawnmower lets her get the job done quickly. Without inviting unwanted conversation over the noise. Or something else unwanted.
Yes, gasoline has empowered women like nothing else. It gives her the freedom to work where she wants to work. Because a gasoline-powered car allows her to work a job she likes and pays well. Instead of settling for a job within walking distance from her home. Or a short walk from some public transportation line. A gasoline-powered car empowers the single mother. She can use it to take her kids to school in the morning. Then drive to her job. After work she can drive to pick her kids up from school. Or daycare. And then home. Things she couldn’t do if she had to rely on public transportation.
Gasoline let’s a Woman get Home Safely no matter the Weather or Time of Day without Molestation
Yes, gasoline is a blessing for women. It gives them freedom. And independence. As well as security and safety. With a car she doesn’t have to wait at night at a desolate bus stop. Or enter a deserted subway platform. And while driving her car no one can ‘feel her up’ like they can in a crowded subway car. Or worse. It’s gasoline that protects women. An electric car won’t. A gasoline car with a full tank will let her sit in the biggest traffic jam on her way home at night in a blizzard. Gasoline will keep that engine running. And that engine will heat her car, defrost her windows and keep her headlights on so she can see. But if she was in an electric car she would be shutting off the heat, defrosters and headlights as she begins to worry whether she has enough charge to make it home.
On the weekend she can run to the grocery store. And fill up her gasoline tank in broad daylight. When it’s safe. Which will let her commute about an hour and a half roundtrip each day during her workweek. But if she finds she’s running low on fuel she can stop at a brightly lit gas station. Swipe her credit card. Fill her tank. And be back on her way home in 10-15 minutes. You can’t do that with an electric car. Only gasoline will do this for you. If an electric car runs out of charge it could strand a young lady in a bad neighborhood. Where she’ll have to call and wait for a tow home. Alone. And vulnerable.
Gasoline will get a woman safely home better than anything else. On the weekend she can get the gasoline-powered mower out and cut her lawn quickly. Leaving her time for other yard work or gardening she may want to do. Something else gasoline let’s her do. She can hop in her car and drive to however many nurseries she wants to find the plants she wants to grow. And she can load up potting soil and mulch in her car. And drive it home. Without relying on a man helping her. She can have and do whatever she wants to do because of gasoline. For gasoline empowers a woman like nothing else.
A Handgun with a High-Capacity Magazine will allow a Woman to Stop a Man—or Group of Men—from Harming Her
But a woman living on her own can attract some unwanted attention. Some may be interested in her charms. Some may be interested in what she has in her home. Or both. Thinking a woman living alone is an easy mark they may break in at night. Now it would be difficult for a woman to fight off a couple of intruders. Or even one strong man. For women are the fairer sex. They are not as large as men. Giving men the clear advantage in any physical confrontation. Especially if a woman is asleep in her bed. Vulnerable. And if men are in her home she probably won’t be able to run into the kitchen to get a knife for protection. But even if she hid one in her bedroom she would have to put herself in great danger to use it. Because to stab someone you have to be close to them.
But there is another way. She can protect herself against an intruder. Even if they have a knife. All she needs is a handgun. And a high-capacity magazine. So even if three men tried to assault her in her bedroom she could keep shooting until they cannot attack her anymore. And she can do this from a distance. She can kneel on the far side of her bed. Across from her bedroom door. And start shooting them as they rush through the bedroom door. With the distance they have to close to get to her and a high-capacity magazine she will be able to shoot them down before they can reach her. In fact, having a handgun with a high-capacity magazine gives her the advantage. Even if she is far out-muscled by her assailants she can shoot as if she is as large and as threatening as they are. Only a handgun with a high-capacity magazine can do this. Not a knife. Or a revolver. Or a shotgun. A revolver will give her six shots. But if she’s scared her first six shots could miss. And then she will have to reload bullets into the cylinder in the dark. Difficult even for the best law enforcement officers. And a double barrel shotgun will have only two shots. If she unloads both barrels into bad guy #1 then she will have to reload to protect herself from bad guys #2 and #3. In the dark. Plus, a shotgun has a long barrel and is not easy to use in tight areas. Finally, if a woman is being stalked or a prison released someone who assaulted her she can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon to protect herself. A handgun with a high-capacity clip will fit into any purse. A shotgun won’t.
Give a woman gasoline and a handgun with a high-capacity magazine and she is free to live however she wants to. They will empower her. Leveling the balance of power in her life. Allowing her to do whatever a man can do. And to protect herself from any man. Or group of men. While the left says birth control and abortion empower a woman they won’t let her do much but have a lot of sex. They won’t help her get to her job and safely back home. They won’t take her kids to school. They won’t get her to the grocery store. They won’t cut her lawn. And they sure won’t protect her from an assailant. No, if the left truly wants to empower women they should stop attacking gasoline and the internal combustion engine. And they should stop trying to make it harder for law-abiding people to own a gun. For a handgun with a high-capacity magazine will allow a woman to stop a man—or group of men—from harming her. No matter how strong and powerful they are. Something birth control and abortion just can’t do.
Tags: abortion, birth control, empower women, empowered women, freedom, gasoline, gasoline-powered, gasoline-powered car, gasoline-powered mower, handgun, high-capacity magazine, independence, large-capacity clip, lawnmower, safety, security
John Adams was descended from the Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock
John Adams was the Rodney Dangerfield of the Founding Fathers. He got no respect. However deserving he was of respect. The man was brilliant. Well read. Honest. Virtuous. But irascible. And vain. He knew he was right when he was right. And was more than eager to argue with anyone that was wrong. Which was most of the time. Tending to make most people not love him. A lot. Earning him monikers like His Rotundity. Because he was portly. Irascible. And not really loved. Which bothered Adams. For he was one of the greatest of the Founding Fathers. But others got all the love. Such as Thomas Jefferson. The junior Congressman they delegated the writing of the Declaration of Independence to after Adams did all the heavy lifting in Congressional debate to lead the nation to declare their independence. While Jefferson sat through all those heated debates silently. For, unlike Adams, Jefferson did not like public confrontations. He preferred stabbing people in the back through surrogates. Or in the press. As Adams would learn firsthand during the 1800 presidential election.
Adams was a very religious man. His family descended from the Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock. Who stressed filling your day with hard work and going to church. And if you had any time left in the day you might get a little eating or sleeping in. Adams was a farmer. And had the hands of a working man. But he was also a lawyer. A very good lawyer. Who had as much reverence for the law as he did for his religion. So much so that he represented the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. After the Stamp Act (1765) things were getting a little heated in Boston. Adams then wrote the Braintree Instructions in response to the Stamp Act. Stating that there should be no taxation without representation. Calling for trial by jury. And an independent judiciary. Things the British denied the good people in the American colonies. But things Adams insisted that the Americans shouldn’t deny to the British soldiers who shot those Americans in Boston. So he represented the British on trial when no one else would take the case. And he got a jury of Bostonians to acquit all but two who they found guilty of manslaughter.
Just about every Bostonian wanted the British soldiers found guilty of murder and hung. Bu the rule of law prevailed. As Adams convinced the jury that the British did not just open fire on innocent bystanders. There was a mob harassing the British. Throwing snowballs and chunks of ice. And other projectiles. Someone knocked a British soldier to the ground. While the mob grew in size. And in intensity. Provoking the British to discharge their weapons. As much as the British killing these Americans bothered Adams so did an unruly mob. His religious teachings emphasized hard work and prayer. Not drunkenness and mob violence. However, Boston had always had drunken, unruly mobs. But they didn’t always get shot by British redcoats. So why did they this time? Because British redcoats were quartered within the city of Boston. This was the kindling that led to the mob action. Which was yet another British violation of the good people of Boston.
A Strong enough Naval Force acts like an Impregnable Fortress Wall to any Hostile Power
When the British marched to Lexington and Concord to seize some weapons in 1775 and exchanged shots with the Americans a state of war existed. The Revolutionary War had started even though their declaration of independence was another year away. Up to this time most of the trouble with the British was in Massachusetts. And some states wanted to leave it in Massachusetts. Which was a problem for Massachusetts. For they couldn’t take on the British Empire by themselves. But if the states united together they had a chance. Adams understood this. So when it came time to choose a commander for the Continental Army he looked to a Virginian. George Washington. After they voted to declare their independence he looked at another Virginian to write the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson. Understanding that they had to make this an American Revolution. Not just a Massachusetts one. For only a union of their several states could withstand the mightiest military power on the planet. But not just any union. One that would release all the latent energies of the several states. A republican union.
After declaring their independence the first order of business for the states was to replace the British governing structure. And that started with the writing of new constitutions. To make those new state governments. That could join in a republican union. Something Adams had given much thought and study to. He believed in the separation of powers between the executive, the judicial and the legislative branches. To provide checks and balances. And a bicameral legislature. A lower house to represent the common people. And an upper house to represent the rich people. With an executive to represent the state. Such that the interests of the many, the few and the one were all represented. Similar to Great Britain’s two houses of Parliament (House of Commons and House of Lords) and the king. Though, of course, having versions of these that weren’t corrupt. Thus not allowing one group of people (or person) to dictate policy to the other group of people (or person). Thereby avoiding a pure democracy and mob rule. A characteristic of a single-house legislature. As France would demonstrate during their French Revolution.
After delegating the busy work of writing the Declaration of Independence to the junior member from Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, Adams dove into the work of building a navy. What he liked to call ‘wooden walls’. For a strong enough naval force acted like an impregnable fortress wall to any hostile power. The British Empire ruled the world because the Royal Navy was the most powerful navy in the world. She could protect her coasts. Prevent the landing of armies. Keep foreign warships out of canon range of her cities. And even protect her trade routes. In a day of competing mercantile empires dependent on their shipping lanes having a navy to protect those shipping lanes made the difference between empire and former empire. As few picked fights with the nations with the big navies. Adams understood this. And he believed in it. Peace through strength. For a strong navy was a deterrent to aggressive nations.
If John Adams were Alive Today he would Likely Endorse the Republican Candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan
But Adams was no warmonger. During his presidency Napoleon came to power in France and was waging war across Europe. And against American shipping. Once again Adams fought to build up the navy. To erect those wooden walls. To be able to protect American shipping on the open seas as France and Great Britain returned to war. President Washington maintained a policy of neutrality in their latest war. Adams continued that policy. Which infuriated the French. And the American people. As the French had helped the Americans win their revolution the French and the American people believed the Americans should help the French win theirs. So the French seized American shipping. And demanded tribute from the American ambassadors in France before beginning any peace discussions. When news of this leaked out to the American people (known as the XYZ Affair) the public sentiment on France changed. And soon everyone was demanding a declaration of war on France. Adams tried one more peace commission while at the same time the growing American navy fought back against French naval aggression in an undeclared war. The Quasi-War. Eventually peace came. Through strength.
Adams was pretty much everywhere in the making of the American nation. From the Braintree Instructions to supporting George Washington to winning the debate for independence to the writing of states’ constitutions to building a republican union. He helped build American naval power. And he avoided war with France when just about everybody wanted war with France. But one place he was not was in Philadelphia in 1787. Even though his constitution writing skills were second to none he did not help draft the U.S. Constitution. For he was busy in Holland. Getting the first foreign power (the Netherlands) to recognize the United States following their victory in the Revolutionary War. He negotiated a Dutch loan. Negotiated a treaty of amity and commerce with the Dutch. And established the first American-owned embassy on foreign soil.
If Adams were alive today he probably would not be a fan of the Democrat Party. And their constant use of class warfare. Especially when the top 10% of earners pay about 70% of all federal income taxes. While about 50% of the population pays no federal income taxes. This does not represent the interests of the many, the few and the one. The few pay the majority of tax revenue and have the least say in how that money is spent. Taking the nation closer to a pure democracy. And mob rule. While at the same time the Democrats use the courts to write unpopular legislation they want but can’t pass in Congress. Where a few judges can write law through court opinions. A great offense to a pure jurist like Adams. And transforming ‘the one’ into a leviathan of special interests and cronyism. Knowing how hard it was to secure loans to pay the nation’s war debt in his day he would be appalled at the size of the annual deficits and the accumulated debt today. And the constant refrain that the rich need to pay their fair share even though about 10% of all Americans are already paying approximately 70% of the tax bill. The character assassination of Mitt Romney by the Obama Campaign would be too reminiscent of the abuse he suffered through in the 1800 election. And as a firm believer in the policy of peace through strength he would not like the massive cuts in defense spending. Which will only encourage more attacks like the one on the American embassy in Benghazi. An obvious sign that our enemies don’t fear us. And are not deterred by our strength. No, if John Adams were alive today he would likely endorse the Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Tags: 2012 election, 2012 Endorsements, Adams, bicameral legislature, Boston, British Empire, British redcoats, British soldiers, checks and balances, class warfare, constitutions, democracy, Democrat, Democrat Party, farmer, federal income taxes, Founding Fathers, France, Great Britain, independence, Jefferson, John Adams, lawyer, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, Mob rule, naval force, navy, Paul Ryan, peace through strength, Puritans, Republican, republican union, Revolutionary War, Romney, Ryan, separation of powers, Stamp Act, Thomas Jefferson, union, war debt, wooden walls
Week in Review
According to the polls the Scottish people want to remain part of Britain (see Just one in three Scots wants independence from Britain, poll shows by Simon Johnson posted 5/25/2012 on The Telegraph).
An opinion poll published by Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor, showed only 33 per cent of voters in Scotland want independence and 57 per cent are opposed…
Mr Salmond will be joined in Edinburgh this morning by celebrities and the leaders of minor left-wing parties to formally start his bid to end the 305-year-old Union between England and Scotland…
Mr Darling’s publication of the The YouGov poll, which also showed more people think a separate Scotland would be worse off financially, was timed to undermine their message…
Nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) said they thought Scotland would be financially worse off after separation compared to only 27 per cent who said it would be wealthier. Thirteen per cent said independence would make no difference.
The finances of an independent Scotland would depend on a couple of things. First of all there’s Britain’s debt. Trying to apportion Scotland’s share of that would be more an act of politics than accounting. And what about the military? Would the Scottish units in the British armed forces return to Scotland? If so would Scotland pay to outfit replacement units in the British armed forces? Or would Scotland just enter into an armed forces agreement with Britain to carry on as if they didn’t become an independent nation? And what about the currency? Would they still be part of the Bank of England? Or would they join the Eurozone? And be a part of it when it finally implodes? Trade agreements? How would this affect treaties negotiated by Britain for Scottish interests? What about environmental regulations? Would they exit the emissions trading scheme? Would they exploit their coal and oil resources? Or build more windmills?
Interesting questions but moot. For based on a recent opinion poll it appears the Scottish are not in favor of altering 305 years of history.
Tags: Britain, independence, Scotland, Scots, Scottish, United Kingdom
The Hutchinson Letters and the Tea Act put the Americans firmly on the Path to Independence
There’s a fine line between treason and loyalty. Some people cross that line. Some people don’t. Some people wait to see which side of the line their best interests lay. Some like to straddle the line. Either unable to commit. Unwilling to commit. Or unwilling to give up profiting from both sides of that line. Such it was during the American Revolutionary War. A very unique conflict. That pitted colony against mother country. New World against Old World. American against Brit. Brit against Brit. And American against American.
The American Revolutionary War was a smorgasbord of antagonism. What started out as a dispute over taxation escalated into world war. And into civil war. To settle old scores. And to settle new ones. Upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence the American colonies were in open rebellion against their sovereign. The ultimate act of treason. Yet they committed this act of treason to live a more British life. For Britain’s constitutional monarchy gave unprecedented rights to British subjects. And the highest standard of living then known to a middle class. Most knew what the rest of the world was like. And they wouldn’t trade their British way of life for any other. So rebellion undoubtedly made a great many nervous. For many were happy and comfortable living under the British sovereign. Benjamin Franklin, for one.
Franklin was a Loyalist. At first. He knew how to work the system. And did. Even achieving the post of American postmaster. And he made it profitable. Very profitable. Even his son, William Franklin, was governor general in New Jersey. So he was very connected to the British Empire. And saw it as the best system of government ever developed. Which is why he sought reconciliation. He was in England when tensions were increasing between the colonies and the mother country. He then came into the possession of some private correspondence that he passed along to his contacts in Massachusetts. The Hutchinson letters. As in governor general of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson. Which basically said that the way to subdue the unrest over recent Parliament actions (i.e., taxation without representation) was to deprive the colonists of some of their English liberties. Franklin asked that they not publish these letters. His intent was to calm the more radical in America. Proving that these misguided policies were the result of some bad advice from a few people. There was no general animosity towards the American colonies in Great Britain. And that reconciliation was possible. Which is what Franklin wanted. But they published the Hutchinson letters. And the Americans were not pleased. Then one thing led to another. After Parliament passed the Tea Act Franklin was anxious of the American response. Hoping for calm. But the response was anything but calm. And did nothing to aid reconciliation.
The Humiliation in the Cockpit helped Push Franklin from Reconciliation to Independence
When the first tea arrived following the Tea Act the Patriots threw it in Boston Harbor. Forever known thereafter as the Boston Tea Party (1763). This destruction of private property shocked Franklin. For this was not an act against Parliament. But an act against a private company. The East India Company. This did not go over well in England. Which was pretty agitated over the publication of those private Hutchinson letters. People accused each other of being the source of the leak. It got so bad that two men dueled in Hyde Park. Each blaming the other for the dishonorable act of leaking those private letters. Not being a very good duel both men survived. When they were going to have at it again Franklin publically stated that he was the leak. Explaining his intentions.
Though Franklin sought reconciliation he had his enemies in England. Who thought he was more of rabble rouser on the other side of the pond. And pounced on this opportunity to disgrace him. They summoned him to appear before the Privy Council. On the pretense to hear testimony on the petition from the Massachusetts Assembly to remove Hutchinson as governor general. But when Franklin arrived in the ‘Cockpit’ he found that he was on trial. For leaking the Hutchinson letters. News of the Boston Tea Party had by then reached England. And the newspapers attacked Franklin without mercy. All of England was turning against the man who wanted reconciliation more than any American. It even looked like Franklin could end up in an English jail.
It was an all out assault on Franklin in the Cockpit. Where his enemies packed the room. While few of his friends sat in. Such as Edmund Burke. Lord Le Despencer. And Joseph Priestly. One after another his enemies took their turn lambasting Franklin. Blaming him for the agitation in the American colonies against British rule. They attacked him personally. And besmirched his honor. Humiliated him. During it all Franklin stood silent. Refusing to partake in this farce. When Wedderburn called Franklin as a witness his counsel stated that his client declined to subject himself to examination. In the end they rejected the Massachusetts petition. And his friend Lord Le Despencer had no choice but to relieve Franklin from his post as American postmaster. He wrote his son William and urged him to quit his post as governor general of New Jersey in order to pursue more honorable work. He would not, though. And thus began the breach between father and son.
Franklin and William were no longer Father and Son but Patriot and Loyalist
William would stay loyal to the crown. While Franklin was moving closer to the side of the Patriots. In response to the Boston Tea Party Britain planned a blockade of Boston Harbor. In response the colonies united behind Boston and formed the First Continental Congress. Which William said was a mistake. And that Boston should make good on the tea they destroyed. Which would be the best way to calm the situation. And reopen Boston Harbor. Exactly what Franklin had earlier suggested. But after the Cockpit and the loss of his post as postmaster Franklin was losing his love for the British Empire. But he still tried while he remained in England with no official duties. He even played chess with Caroline Howe. Sister of Admiral Richard Howe and General William Howe. Who would later command the British naval and military forces in the opening of the Revolutionary War. But at the time they were both sympathetic to the American cause. Despite of his shameful treatment in the Cockpit she and other friends urged him to put pen to paper. And try to mediate a peaceful solution to the breach between the American colonies and Great Britain. He tried.
But all efforts came to naught. He worked on a bill with Lord Chatham. Which Lord Sandwich attacked with a fury when introduced into the House of Lords. And they publicly attacked Franklin again. They rejected the bill. And Franklin booked passage home. He met with Edmund Burke before leaving. Discussed with him one last plea for reconciliation. He spent his last day in London with his friend Joseph Priestly. And discussed the future. The coming war. Reading the papers. Priestly later wrote that the thought of that dismal future brought Franklin to tears. After Franklin was on a ship sailing west Burke rose in Parliament and gave his famous speech On Conciliation with America. Where he said, “A great empire and little minds go ill together.”
The move to independence accelerated after arriving home. Thomas Paine, who Franklin helped to bring to America, wrote Common Sense. Which Franklin read before it was published. Even offered a few revisions. As he would offer later to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. Then the Continental Congress scheduled a vote for independence. General Washington was preparing to fight General William Howe on Long Island. Supported by his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe. Who made one last attempt at conciliation with Franklin. But things had already progressed too far. Franklin had crossed that fine line. The time for peace had passed. On June 15, 1776, the new American provincial government in New Jersey ordered the arrest of William Franklin. On the day of his trial Benjamin Franklin wrote General Washington. He did not mention William. Nor did he say anything when the Continental Congress voted to imprison him in Connecticut. The breach between father and son was complete. No longer father and son. But Patriot and Loyalist. As families throughout the colonies similarly tore asunder. Setting the stage for the civil war within the world war that was the American Revolution.
Tags: Admiral Richard Howe, American, American colonies, American Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin, Boston, Boston Harbor, Boston Tea Party, Britain, British, British Empire, Civil War, colonies, Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, England, English, First Continental Congress, Franklin, General Washington, General William Howe, governor general, Great Britain, Howe, Hutchinson, Hutchinson letters, independence, Joseph Priestly, Lord Le Despencer, Loyalist, Massachusetts, mother country, New Jersey, Parliament, Patriot, reconciliation, Revolutionary War, tea, Tea Act, the Cockpit, treason, Washington, William Franklin, world war
Washington’s Killing of Joseph Coulon de Jumonville Precipitated the Seven Years’ War
In the Revolutionary War the Americans were feeling out the French since hostilities broke out in 1775. For good reason. The French lost most of their North American possessions in their last war with Great Britain. The Seven Years’ War (1756–1763). Where the French were in Canada and in the great river valleys in the interior of North America. And the British were in what is now the U.S. east of the Appalachians. The British and their American colonists won that war. And took the French possessions. In fact, the American commander in the Revolutionary War, George Washington, opened hostilities against the French in the French and Indian War (1754–1763). Which precipitated the subsequent world war. The Seven Years’ War.
As the French and the British expanded their territories in North America they eventually bumped into each other. And it was in the Ohio Country that the name George Washington entered our history books. Then only a major. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent Washington into the Ohio Country to tell the French to kindly vacate their posts in the area. The French refused. Washington returned to Virginia. Governor Dinwiddie sent him back to the Ohio Country to protect a fort the Ohio Company was building at present day Pittsburg. Before he got there a French force had chased out the British. And then began building Fort Duquesne for their own post at present day Pittsburg.
While on the march to what was now going to be Fort Duquesne Washington’s Indian allies discovered a small French force led by Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. Which the Americans and their Indian allies ambushed. The facts are a little hazy about what exactly happened but Jumonville ended up dead. And the French blamed Washington. Said that he killed a diplomat who was doing exactly what Washington had done earlier. Trying to reach a foreign power with a diplomatic message about the Ohio Country. Only the French didn’t kill Washington. As Washington (or someone under his command) had killed Jumonville. Both sides debated the truth for a long time to come. But the French response was to attack the nearby Fort Necessity that Washington built to keep an eye on Fort Duquesne. Captured Washington and his men. But then let them go. And shortly thereafter France and Great Britain declared war on each other. To settle the Ohio Country question. As well as other outstanding issues between the two great powers. Which precipitated the Seven Years’ War. That didn’t end well for the French.
The French hoped to Dictate the Terms of Peace once the Americans won the Revolutionary War
Flash forward some twenty years and here were the Americans feeling out the French to help them in their cause. So they could gain their independence from Great Britain. So they could control the Ohio Country. And other parts of North America. Whose military was led by the guy that killed Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. And started the war that lost France her North American possessions. Which created a very interesting political picture.
The French hated the British. That goes without saying. For they gave the French a humiliating defeat. But the British had help from their British North American colonists to win that fight. Who also helped to take away not only the Ohio Country but New France itself. All of Quebec. And the Surrounding areas of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. So would they enter into another costly war with Great Britain? To help someone obtain their independence from Britain’s constitutional monarchy? Would the French, an absolute monarchy, help the Americans? Of course they would. If the Americans could just impress them enough that they might win this thing. So the French wouldn’t risk losing anything more to the British.
Well the French were impressed with the American win at Saratoga. And they joined the Americans. Made some treaties with them that were favorable to the French. And hoped that once they won that it would be the French who would dictate the terms of the peace. For one of their conditions of joining the Americans was that there would be no separate peace between the Americans and the British. No. That peace would involve the French. As the French were already going into great debt helping the Americans in every way short of fighting alongside of them, they were going to make sure they got a favorable return on their investment when taking that last step.
When Aid came it was not to Support the Americans but to Gain Something from their Common Enemy, the British Empire
After negotiating this treaty the French turned to the Spanish. Another longtime foe of Great Britain. And who still had sizeable possessions in the New World. From South America all the way up the Pacific coast to California. And up through Mexico all the way through the Mississippi River and surrounding areas. That big chunk of North America between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains we called the Louisiana Territory. And parts of southern Florida they ceded to Great Britain in the last war that they wanted back. So unlike the French the Spanish worried more about the Americans than the British. Especially their southern and western boundaries. But the French made their case anyway.
France’s foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, said the Spanish had much to lose if the Americans lost. For a strong British presence in North America would eventually threaten California. And her other possessions. Great Britain was the threat. Not the Americans. Who had no Army, Navy or manufacturing base that could threaten Spain’s North American possessions. At least, not in the immediate future. Whereas the British did. So it was in Spanish interests to help the Americans. And weaken the British Empire.
Well, the Spanish were all for weakening the British Empire. But they didn’t trust the ambition of the Americans. They still saw them as the immediate threat to Spanish territory in North America. Besides, the whole idea about rebelling against sovereign authority didn’t sit well with them. Sovereigns had sacred rights to their territory. They may not have liked the British but they believed in those sacred rights. Especially when they were holding a lot of territory in the New World. And the idea about supporting a people in their rebellion against their sovereign was risky business. It just might give their own people ideas. They would enter the war. But not in an American alliance. They made a treaty with the French. Offered little to the Americans in blood or treasure. Then declared war on Great Britain. Her immediate goal being Gibraltar. The southern tip of the Spanish peninsula. That the British had taken in a previous war.
As the Americans approached other European nations the result was pretty much the same. When aid came it was not so much to support the Americans. But to gain something from their common enemy. The British Empire. Most European nations stayed out of the war. At most joining in the League of Armed Neutrality to protect their commercial trade. To protect their ships from the Royal Navy trying to prevent arms and supplies reaching America. Though this didn’t help the Americans in the short run. It did make the war far more costly for the British. Which helped the Americans in the long run.
Tags: Americans, British, British Empire, California, European, Fort Duquesne, Fort Necessity, French, French and Indian War, George Washington, Gibraltar, Governor Dinwiddie, Great Britain, independence, Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, Jumonville, League of Armed Neutrality, Louisiana Territory, monarchy, North America, Ohio Country, Pittsburg, Revolutionary War, sacred rights, Seven Years War, sovereign, sovereign authority, Spanish, Washington
General Gates gave the British Lenient Terms of Surrender at Saratoga allowing a Defeated British Army to be Replaced by Another
When the Americans began fighting for their independence the British said, “Really? You’re going to fight us? The greatest military power in the world? Yeah, right. Forgive us if we don’t tremble in our boots.” Then came Lexington and Concorde. Bunker Hill. Then the Siege of Boston. Not exactly an auspicious start for the greatest military power in the world. But a little premature for the Americans to be feeling big in the britches department. For the British had a cure for britches that ware too big. It’s something they called the greatest military power in the world. Which General Sir William Howe unleashed on the Americans on Long Island. And he didn’t stop pushing the Americans back until he took winter quarters in New Jersey. General Howe took those big American britches and shrunk them down in good order. Very disheartening times for the Patriots. Times that Thomas Paine wrote “try men’s souls.”
The British were feeling confident. Even their hired mercenaries. The Hessians. Who where in Trenton. Across the Delaware from Washington’s army that was “almost naked, dying of cold, without blankets, and very ill supplied with provisions.” Ill conceived words from the Hessian commander. Considering that naked, starving army surprised the bejesus out of them. Giving the Americans a much needed win in the field against the British. Or their Hessian allies. Giving the Patriots fresh hope. After they had just lost pretty much all of it. And when they emerged from winter quarters they came out fighting. Came close to a couple of victories. But unable to pull out a victory. Losing more land in the process. Including Philadelphia. And when the army took winter quarters at Valley Forge they were “almost naked, dying of cold, without blankets, and very ill supplied with provisions” again.
But it wasn’t all bad. For there was an American victory up north. At Saratoga. Where a British army surrendered. To an American force. Something the French had great trouble doing themselves in the last century. So this win was big. But it could have been bigger. For General Gates gave the British painfully lenient terms of surrender. Allowing the British army to go back to Britain if they promised that they would never fight in North America again. Of course the fault with that logic is that if that army went back to Britain they could relieve other forces that could fight in North America. So the victory was a hollow one militarily. As it did not weaken the enemy militarily. Worse, had that British army been interned in a POW camp the war may not have continued for another 5 years. For that win at Saratoga brought the French into the war.
The Americans weren’t Interested in Making a British Peace, what they Had in Mind was an American Win
The British did not want to broaden this war. And the last thing they wanted was to bring in their old nemesis. France. Who would be glad to broaden the war. And would rejoice at the opportunity to bring some hurt down on their old foe. And perhaps recover some of their lost North American possessions. So the British started to send out some peace feelers. They approached Benjamin Franklin in January of 1778. But he was not interested in what terms the British offered for Parliament to recognize America’s independence. For Franklin said it was not up to Parliament to recognize their independence. It was up to the Americans. And they already did.
The British even tried bribing prominent Americans. Such as Franklin and Washington. In exchange for their help in convincing the American people to end their rebellion they would bestow upon them titles and rank. And privilege. Including generous pensions. But Franklin and Washington weren’t for sale. Parliament held heated debate about the American problem. And the Americans and the French entering into any treaties. Lord Rockingham led the Whig opposition who favored American independence. While Lord Chatham vehemently disagreed with giving up sovereignty over America. As it would be an insult to the Crown. He was making his case passionately in Parliament when he collapsed. This became his last speech as he died shortly thereafter. His last breaths in Parliament were for naught, though. As they agreed to send a peace commission to America. To try to end the war before the French could affect the outcome.
The Carlisle Commission arrived in Philadelphia as General Clinton (who replaced General Howe) was moving his army back to New York. Which did not give the British a strong negotiating position. For it is usually easier to get someone to accept your generous terms when you have the world’s most powerful military behind you. Giving people something to think about if they don’t accept your generous terms. The Americans refused to negotiate with them, though. The British then tried bribing some prominent Americans. Even tried to appeal directly to the American people. Who just suffered a British army occupying their city. So the British made no progress towards a negotiated peace. Even though the terms were generous. And had the British offered them a few years earlier the Americans would have accepted them. For they gave them most of what they wanted then. But after three years of war things changed. The British had done things they couldn’t undo. Certain unrestricted warfare things. And the Americans weren’t desperate to make peace. For they had survived 3 years of war against the greatest military power in the world. Recently defeating one of their armies in the field of battle. And now had the French as allies. No, the Americans weren’t interested in making a British peace. What they had in mind was an American win.
After Surviving 3 Years of War and 6 Months at Valley Forge the Americans had Reason to Believe they could Win this War
As General Washington entered winter quarters in the barren land of Valley Forge the British were settling in for a comfortable winter in the city of Philadelphia. The British moved into comfortable homes while the Americans raced the calendar to build some barracks before the snow fell. They had little food. No meat whatsoever. Many were barefoot. Few had a decent shirt to wear. And blankets were few. To stay warm soldiers huddled around fires. Or shivered under shared blankets.
Some 2,500 men would die in all during the 6 months of Valley Forge. But the army emerged intact. And with confidence. They now had an ally. France. And during that awful winter they also trained. Under the Prussian Baron Friedrich von Steuben. Who may have lied on his resume. But he knew how to drill an army into shape. And that’s what emerged from Valley Forge. A professional army. As good as any in Europe. Even European officers led some of their units. Who came over to fight for the cause. Combat engineers like Louis Duportail from France. And Thaddeus Kosciusko from Poland. Also from Poland was cavalry commander Count Casimir Pulaski. And, of course, Marquis de Lafayette from France. The one foreign officer that never caused Washington any grief over persistent demands for promotion and rank. Not Lafayette. Who proved himself in battle. And even changed his political persuasion during the war. From monarchy to the liberty of republicanism. Washington looked upon Lafayette as a son.
After surviving 3 years of war and 6 months at Valley Forge the Americans had reason to believe they could win this war. For the army that emerged from Valley Forge was a better army than the one that defeated General Burgoyne at Saratoga. And they were less alone. Thanks to France. And these foreign officers. Making it more difficult for Britain. For with France (and her ally Spain joining in) the American Revolutionary War became a world war. Diverting British resources elsewhere as their new enemies looked to take advantage of Britain’s American problem. Which the Americans knew when rejecting the Carlisle Commission. Namely that a quick peace didn’t favor the Americans. It favored the British.
Tags: American problem, Americans, Britain, British, Carlisle Commission, Chatham, Franklin, French, General Gates, General Howe, greatest military power in the world, Hessians, independence, Lafayette, lenient terms of surrender, negotiated peace, North America, Parliament, Patriots, Philadelphia, Poland, Rockingham, Saratoga, terms of surrender, Trenton, Valley Forge, Washington, winter quarters, world war
When the American Colonists rebelled against their British Overlords it created a Complex Political Landscape
For about a hundred years the nations of Europe had been at war. Over religion (Protestantism versus Catholicism). Oversea colonies to build trade networks. And the balance of power of the European nations. Often tilted by the acquisitions of their overseas possessions. These nations have been at war with each other off and on from the late 17th century to the late 18th century. Alliances formed and shifted during this century of war. But one thing was constant. The Protestant British and the Catholic French were always on opposing sides.
The most recent war that ended in 1763 (the Seven Year’s War) was a particularly bitter pill for the French to swallow. They lost pretty much all of New France in North America to Great Britain. Including Quebec City. Founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. The British occupation defiled 155 years of French history. This was the heart and soul of New France. The French culture was so deep that they still speak French there today, having never accepted their British overlords. And never have forgotten their French heritage. For as Quebec’s official motto says today, “Je me souviens.” Which translates to, “I remember.” Remember what? That they were French. And remain French.
When the American colonists rebelled against their British overlords it created a complex political landscape. In a drawn out war with Great Britain the Americans would more than likely need foreign assistance. Meaning an alliance. However, the reason why they declared their independence from Great Britain had a lot to do with all those European wars that Britain fought. Which were expensive. As was the following peace. For they now had to defend their newly conquered lands. Exhausted from all these wars the British taxpayers felt taxed out. So Parliament turned to their British brethren in America. And taxed them. Which led, of course, to the Americans’ Declaration of Independence. So the Americans were very wary of joining into any European alliances. Fearful that the Europeans would pull them into a future European war. And bankrupt them. Before they even had a chance to become a country.
The European Monarchs weren’t going to help the Americans Rebel against Monarchy out of the Goodness of their Hearts
So the Americans were wary of alliances. But they were thinking about it. Especially with the most likely candidate for an alliance. In September of 1776 John Adams wrote, “our negotiations with France ought, however, to be conducted with great caution, and with all the foresight we could possibly attain; that we ought not to enter into any alliance with her which should entangle us in any future wars in Europe; that we ought to lay it down as a first principle and a maxim never to be forgotten, to maintain an entire neutrality in all future European wars; that it never could be in our interest to unite with France in the destruction of England, or in any measures to break her spirit or reduce her to a situation in which she could not support her independence.” This from one of the most outspoken Founding Fathers for independence. One of the few men Britain was not willing to forgive for the things he said and wrote. A man the British condemned to death even if the Americans reconciled with the British.
At the time of the Revolution The Hague in the Netherlands had diplomats from all the courts of Europe. One of these diplomats was a friend of Benjamin Franklin. Charles William Dumas. Franklin wrote to him to feel out the foreign powers. In September of 1775 he wrote asking if there was any “state or power in Europe who would be willing to enter into an alliance with us for the benefit of our commerce, which amounted, before the war, to near seven millions sterling per annum…” Like Adams, he wanted to avoid any alliance that could draw America into a future European war. Feeling that American commerce would be reason enough to support the Americans. As at that time all American trade went though Great Britain. So treating directly with the Americans would cut out the middle man. Making American goods less costly. Surely a financial incentive for any nation.
Then again, these European powers they were feeling out were all monarchies. Would these monarchies support a rebellion against royal authority? France, their most likely alliance partner due to their history with Great Britain, was an absolute monarchy. Would they support the Americans in their bid for independence with French taxes? Would they take a chance that their oppressed masses wouldn’t rise up in defiance of those high taxes and/or royal authority (which they eventually did)? Then there was a moral element as Robert Morrison noted in a letter to John Jay in September of 1776. “Can this be morally right?” Bringing war to the people of Europe in their bid for independence? Their kings may not care about what they do to the innocents. But a government of the people would. Or should. But if they got any support from these European monarchs the big question would be at what price? For these monarchs weren’t going to help the Americans in their rebellion against monarchy out of the goodness of their hearts. For, as monarchs, they kind of liked the institution of monarchy. So any involvement on their part wasn’t going to be for any moral imperative. It was for personal gain. New territory. Getting back lost territory. Or changing the balance of power in Europe to their favor.
Despite all of their Misgivings the Americans entered into an Entangling Alliance with the French
Monarchies were getting a little nervous about the impoverished masses around this time. For there were a lot more poor people than royals and nobles. Revolution was in the air. They made fun of the noble classes in some of the leading plays of the day. In fact, one play was banned in Vienna. For being less than respectful of the aristocracy. But that didn’t stop a composer from using it to write a new opera from it. That play? The Marriage of Figaro. The composer was, of course, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Who based his new opera on the play written by a Frenchman. Pierre Beaumarchais. Who plays a prominent role in America’s Revolutionary War.
Beaumarchais had written a play making fun of the aristocracy. And the American rebellion against aristocracy piqued his interest. So he decided to aid the Americans in their cause. He strongly encouraged Louis XVI to support the Americans in their cause. For if they did not they would not only lose in the balance power to Great Britain. But likely the very valuable sugar trade coming from the French West Indies. He also set up a private company to ship war material to America in exchange for tobacco. Silas Deane arrived from America in Paris in July 1776. He, too, worked on obtaining the materials of war as well as skilled officers. America’s greatest diplomat and propagandist was also in Paris. Benjamin Franklin. Who the French adored. For his scientific experiments. And his plain American airs. They really got a kick out of the coonskin hat he wore. Which he wore only for them. Never having worn one back in America.
So the Americans were really working their mojo behind the scenes to get French support for the cause. As well as French money and arms. Which they were getting. And after the American win at the Battle of Saratoga, they got a whole lot more. Formal recognition of the United States. And despite all of their misgivings, an alliance. On January 7, 1778 they entered into a treaty of amity and commerce. Followed by (on February 6) the treaty of alliance. And these treaties were rather entangling. But so dictated the necessities of war. And what did the Americans agree to? In exchange for French military support against the British in North America the Americans would support the French militarily in the French West Indies. In any future French war where the Americans were neutral the French and their warships would have access to American ports. While the French adversary would not. Also, the French could bring in any captured ships into American ports to refit and re-provision them. And then leave freely. Which came back to haunt the Washington administration during the next war between the French and the British. Following the French Revolution. A war in which America not only remained neutral. But her neutrality ‘favored’ the British. As the vast majority of her trade was with the British. Causing a lot of animosity in America. For we had a treaty with the French. Who helped win them their independence from the nation they were now currently fighting. Again. A treaty some of the Americans noted, though, that they made with King Louis XVI. Who the French recently executed. Brought about, in part, by the incredible French debt incurred financing the American Revolution. Providing the tinder for the French Revolution.
A complex political landscape indeed. Of course the Americans didn’t know what was awaiting them in the future. All they knew is that when General Washington left winter quarters at Valley Forge they were no longer alone in their struggle. After their win at Saratoga and their new ally things were looking up. Little did they know that there would still be 5 more years of war.
Tags: Adams, alliance, American Colonists, aristocracy, balance of power, Beaumarchais, Benjamin Franklin, Britain, British, British overlords, Catholic, Deane, England, entangling alliances, Europe, European, European alliances, European war, France, Franklin, French, French West Indies, Great Britain, independence, John Adams, King Louis XVI, monarchies, monarchy, New France, nobles, North America, Paris, Pierre Beaumarchais, Protestant, Quebec, Quebec City, revolution, Revolutionary War, Saratoga, Silas Deane, taxes
The Declaration of Independence declared that Government should be By the People, Of the People and For the People
Tearing down the old order is one thing. Building a new one is something completely different. For there’s been a lot of tearing down throughout history. And rarely does peace and prosperity spontaneously follow. Which is something that no doubt weighed heavily on the minds of those who voted on July 2, 1776, to declare formerly their independence from Great Britain. What, exactly, were they to do next? The most powerful navy and army in the world no longer protected them. Instead, they were now the enemy of the most powerful navy and army in the world. Which meant they couldn’t protect themselves. Their international trade on the high seas. Or even protect their own people from each other. For if the British constitutional protections no longer applied to them, what did? Anything? Or would anarchy rule?
The Americans declared independence because they were not getting equal treatment under British law. Much of which they liked. The execution of it is what they had a problem with. That and the built-in privileges for some. And, of course, the established state religion. Which made many of them come to the colonies to escape in the first place. So there was a lot in British law they could use. And some that could do with a little tweaking. Which is something they could do now that they were starting from scratch.
They had just renounced the royal authority in their states. Which left these states without a formal framework of law. And the opportunity to make new law. Based on the principles in the Declaration of Independence. That government should be by the people, of the people and for the people. So when the Continental Congress adjourned after committing their high treason (declaring their independence) the delegates went home. Back to their states. To begin the building process of the new order.
The Vehicle for Peaceful Change of Government was and is the Constitutional Convention
Virginia was first. George Mason drafted their new constitution. And included a Bill of Rights. George Mason was a leading mind of the day. And produced a document that served as a template for other states. As well as other countries. It did away with privilege. And the state established Anglican religion. Among other reforms. In Massachusetts the process was a little different.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. He voted for independence. And supported the violent revolution that followed. For he believed when a government harms the people that these people have a right and a duty to abolish that government. But that didn’t mean a violent revolution whenever the people disagreed with government policy. Because that would lead to anarchy. And this was an issue that weighed heavily on the brilliant mind of John Adams. Who created the procedure of overthrowing a government without suffering through a period of anarchy. The vehicle for this peaceful change of government was the constitutional convention. Which provided the framework for the states to develop their constitutions.
The Massachusetts House appointed a committee to draft their constitution. When they finished their draft they submitted it to a constitutional convention made up of elected state delegates. Who approved it and sent it to the towns for approval. They rejected it. For it lacked a bill of rights. Among other required features. So they started the process again. They called another constitution convention. This one included John Adams. Who had just returned from France. He took an active part of the deliberations. And the drafting of the second constitution. They then submitted this constitution to the towns for approval. The towns approved it. And the state of Massachusetts had a new government. New Hampshire followed this process. As did the other states. But it just wasn’t in the American states. Nations throughout the world have adopted this process ever since.
The Founding Fathers gave their People Great Power and hoped their Religious Institutions would help them act with Great responsibility
Most colonies disestablished the Anglican Church. Including the taxes that supported it. And the oaths of Anglican faith required for public office. But that didn’t mean the states wouldn’t establish their own religions. Or force the support of it through taxation. Which is what Massachusetts did. Either for the preferred Congregational Church. Or any other Christian religion. As long as everyone attended church. For as the Massachusetts Bill of Rights states, “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality…”
Of course the Quakers and Baptists in Massachusetts objected to paying taxes for what they saw as a violation of conscience. In Virginia the Anglican Church of England was still supported by the state. Supported by taxation. And the state penalized dissenters. Particularly the Baptists (something James Madison remembered well when later working for the passage of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution). In direct violation of their own Virginian Bill of Rights. The Virginian Assembly would subsequently pass an act exempting all dissenters from taxation and abuse. Thomas Jefferson would take this a step farther with his Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom in 1786. A piece of legislation that he was particularly proud of. Even included it on his gravestone.
With great power comes great responsibility. The Founding Fathers gave their people great power. Representative government. And a means to overthrow that government. The constitutional convention. That they hoped their religious institutions would protect. And help their people act with great responsibility.
Tags: Adams, American, anarchy, Anglican, Anglican Church, Baptists, Bill of Rights, British law, Church of England, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence, George Mason, Great Britain, independence, Jefferson, John Adams, Massachusetts, privileges, Religion, taxation, taxes, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia, Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom
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